Athletics-Doha wins vote to host 2019 world championships

Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:24am EST
 
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MONACO (Reuters) - Qatar's emergence as a global sporting hub gained further clout when Doha was chosen as host city for the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships on Tuesday.

The fast-growing city alongside the Arabian Gulf will become the first from the Middle East to stage the blue riband event.

Overlooked for the 2017 championships in favor of London, the Qatari capital was selected ahead of rival bids from 1992 Olympic hosts Barcelona and the American city of Eugene, often referred to as Track Town.

Doha earned 12 votes to Eugene's nine and Barcelona's six in the initial secret ballot of the IAAF Council before winning 15-12 over Eugene in the second vote.

It is a timely boost for Qatar which has been mired in the controversy surrounding world soccer governing body FIFA's decision to award the desert nation the 2022 World Cup.

The process by which it was chosen has come under intense scrutiny and FIFA is under pressure to make public a report of it's own investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Russia won the right to stage the 2018 version.

Former U.S. attorney Michael Garcia, hired by FIFA to investigate the bids both World Cups, said his report had been misinterpreted in a boiled down version and there have been calls for FIFA to publish his findings in full.

However, IAAF vice president Dahlan Al-Hamad and head of the Doha 2019 bid, said the choice of the city was a "great opportunity" to take athletics to new regions.

"The World Championships for us will be a unique one," he told a news conference in Monte Carlo's Fairmont Hotel.   Continued...